Islam and Muslims in the Modern World

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Summer Program
June 27, 2022 to July 2, 2022
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Islamic History / Studies, Popular Culture Studies, Religious Studies and Theology

This Summer Programme aims to critically analyse and discuss Muslim identities, Muslim societies, and the complex ways they engage with the issue of modernity. The terms ‘Muslim’, and ‘modernity’, as well as ‘Islam’, are multifaceted and complex. These words have been historically conceptualised in a variety of ways. Depending on their interpretation of Islam and its context, Muslims have developed different understandings of everyday life, culture, and politics founded on the interplay between religious traditions and societal change. Held in London, a city defined by its pluralism of religions, cultures, and ethnicities, the programme will include several excursions, using London as a window, a contextual framework, into the everyday life of Muslims.

Discussion points will include who is classified as modern and who isn’t and why? How is modernity understood in Muslim environments, and what are the sensitivities concerning interpretations of Islam, the practice of Islam and modernity? 

This programme is jointly organised by the Aga Khan University's Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) and the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at the University of Copenhagen​. 

The applications deadline is 13 May 2022.  If you need to apply for a visa for the UK you should submit your applications by 22 April 2022.​

Details on how to apply can be found here

Course Convenors:

Catharina Raudvere is professor of the History of Religions at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She works in the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies. She has published widely on Islam, including Islam: An IntroductionI(I.B Tauris).

Jonas Otterbeck is a professor specialising in contemporary Islam. He is Head of Research at AKU-ISMC and the current holder of the Rasul-Walker Endowed Chair in Popular Culture in Islam. In August 2021, Otterbeck’s new book The Awakening of Islamic Pop Music was published by Edinburgh University Press.

Leif Stenberg is the Dean of AKU-ISMC. He recently co-edited (with Professor Philip Wood) a volume on the politics of studying Islam entitled What is Islamic Studies? (published by Edinburgh University Press, 2022).

Sevgi Adak is an associate professor at AKU-ISMC. She specialises in gender studies, the social history of modern Turkey and Turkish politics. She is the author of Anti-Veiling Campaigns in Turkey: State, Society and Gender in the Early Republic (I.B. Tauris, 2022). 

Simon Stjernholm is an associate professor who works in the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. His research focuses on various forms of Muslim teaching and preaching and the study of Sufism.​

Guest Lecturer:

Philip Wood is a professor and historian of the Middle East at AKU-ISMC. He is the current holder of the endowed Tejpar Chair in Interreligious Studies. He has written widely on the histories of religious minorities in the caliphate and on the experience of Muslims as minorities in Britain. Together with Leif Stenberg, he has recently published What is Islamic Studies?​  ​

There will be five lectures in the programme, each covering a particular topic. The programme will also feature a guest lecture on Muslims in the UK by Professor Philip Wood of AKU-ISMC. There will be a number of excursions related to module topics, pre- and post-excursion seminar discussions, social activities, and a panel discussion by course convenors wrapping up conclusions of the course on the last day of the programme. The programme will also include one-to-one sessions with the aim of giving participants the chance to receive individual feedback and to deepen the conversation on a specific topic with an assigned tutor. 

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